Posted by: Jack Henry | September 30, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Lollapalooza

A couple of months ago, my mom asked me what the definition and history of the word lollapalooza was. My response was, “You mean the music festival, like Coachella?” She laughed and said, “There’s a music festival called Lollapalooza? No, I mean the word. We used it when I was a kid in Pennsylvania.”

Well, it’s taken me a while (okay, I forgot to put it on my list) but here’s what I found. First, from Merriam-Webster:


or less commonly lalapalooza or lollapaloosa or lallapalooza

: something extraordinarily impressive: an outstanding example

And then from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

lollapalooza (n.)

"remarkable or wonderful person or thing," 1901, American English, fanciful formation. The annual North American alternative pop music concert of the same name dates from 1991. [KC – A different resource said it was first used in 1896.]

And yet another definition from

an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.

Here are some examples:

  • Rocco is a real lollapalooza of a dancer—he does everything from the Argentine Tango in the ballroom, to breakdancing on cardboard in the street.
  • The engagement ring that Troy gave to Alex was a titanium and diamond lollapalooza; it was more expensive than their thirty-day European honeymoon.
  • Antoni Gaudi rarely designed anything that wasn’t a lollapalooza of a building.

As far as the music festival, there is a history of it on Wikipedia, but here is a condensed version:

Lollapalooza is an annual four-day music festival held in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois. It started as a touring event in 1991. Music genres include but are not limited to alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and electronic music. Lollapalooza has also featured visual arts, nonprofit organizations, and political organizations. The festival in Chicago’s Grant Park hosts an estimated 400,000 people each July and sells out annually. Lollapalooza is considered one of the largest and most iconic music festivals in the world and one of the longest running in the United States.

Sounds like a lollapalooza of a time! Sign me up for a couple of days, a riverboat ride, and some deep-dish pizza!

Antoni Gaudi’s Lollapalooza: Casa Batllo in Barcelona

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Technical Editor, Advisory

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